Zanu-PF smells by-elections victory

Zanu-PF aspiring candidate for Pelandaba Tshabalala constituency Cde Joseph Tshuma inspects the voters roll before casting his vote at Sizane High school yesterday

VOTING went on smoothly in six constituencies that were having by-elections in various parts of the country yesterday with officials happy with the peaceful atmosphere. 

Speaking to Sunday News in Bulawayo at the close of polling stations, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Chief Elections Officer Mr Utoile Silaigwana commended voters for voting peacefully saying all polling stations opened on time.

ZEC chief Elections Officer Utloile Silaigwana

He, however, said there was a need for civic education to ensure the public understands the importance of registering to vote and also exercising their constitutional right to vote.

“The polling processes for today the 3rd of February 2024 took place in all the provinces where there were by-elections. We had six constituencies and several wards throughout the country, mainly in Bulawayo, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Midlands. There has been a low turnout, yes, by-elections by their nature attract a low turnout but this time our assessment shows that turnout was actually lower than what we expected but, there could be several factors. We are still going to make a proper assessment,” said Mr Silaigwana.

Cde Joseph Tshuma after casting his vote

He said ZEC managed to do all its groundwork to ensure the process was conducted in a proper way across the country.

“As ZEC we did all that we were supposed to do in terms of preparations, I can confirm that all the polling stations opened at 7am. By then there were very few people trickling in, there was a bit of an increase around 10am, mid-morning as I have already indicated, the percentages remained low. In some of the polling stations that I visited, the turnout was between 10 and 15 percent,” he said.

The Chief Elections Officer also expressed his pleasure on the election saying it was observed and polling agents were on site.

“I can also confirm the other good thing about this election was that it was observed, there were observers almost in all polling stations generally. The polling agents representing their candidates for the three parties particularly in this constituency, Pelandaba-Tshabalala, were there in the polling stations. In terms of the process, they expressed satisfaction with the process,” said Mr Silaigwana.

He encouraged full participation of all eligible populations.

“As an election management body, we would want to continue urging people to participate. It is only by way of participation that they take part in the governance of the country. They need representatives at council level, they need representatives in Parliament so that those elected can articulate the issues on their behalf,” he added.

He said non-participation was a sign of lack of responsibility.

Cde Joseph Tshuma after casting his vote

“As citizens, we have got the responsibility and we have got the mandate and right given by the Constitution of our country so we need to use it. We need to take up our civic duty to vote,” said Mr Silaigwana.

In Bulawayo’s Pelandaba-Tshabalala constituency, Zanu-PF candidate Cde Joseph Tshuma was battling it out with CCC’s Moreblessing Tembo and Abraham Nkomo from the Democratic Opposition Party. 

Speaking after casting his vote at Sizane High School, Cde Tshuma said he was confident of a win, also raising concerns about the low voter turnout.

Pelandaba Tshabalala Constituency Elections Officer Miss Nomagugu Nyathi

“I must say I was very much pleased with the process of campaigning. It was very peaceful in Pelandaba-Tshabalala constituency. We did not experience any cases of violence whatsoever. The outreach was great. We tried to cover all the corners, but unfortunately, today the voter turnout was a bit subdued. 

“We can smell the victory as the Zanu-PF team because we did our groundwork. We went down and spoke to the people and we gave them the reason to vote for the party. So I do not see how anything other than that can come out,” he said. 

Prospecting voters going to cast their votes at a polling station at Sizani High school in Bulawayo yesterday

Other elections for MPs were held in Goromonzi South, Seke, Chegutu West, Zvimba East and Mkoba North. The results were expected early this morning.


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